Vermillion will host State Legion tourney by M. Jill Karolevitz Eight American Legion baseball teams from around the state, including Vermillion's Post #1 team, will be participating in the South Dakota Class B American Legion Baseball Tournament Aug. 1-5 at Vermillion's Prentis Park field.
Although most teams to come have yet to be determined because they are still playing in their respective regional tournaments, Freeman will be a contender.
"The rest of the teams will be known after Sunday when all of the regionals are over," said Jason Gault, Post #1's coach.
This is the first time Vermillion has been chosen as the site for the state tournament.
"Parents of our players and Legion members went before the state commissioners last year to request that we host the tournament," Gault said. "It's kind of a bidding process. They told the commissioners about improvements that have been done on the field, what Vermillion has to offer in the way of other activities and accommodations.
"Vermillion has a good tradition of baseball and I think that is one of the reasons why they picked us as the host site," he continued. "And Loren Tolsma, with his crew in the parks and recreation department, has put some phenomenal effort into working with the field. It's in great shape."
Although the city is hosting the state tournament for the first time, the Post #1 team has seen action in past state events.
"They were state champions in 1994 and have played in the state tournament on a number of other occasions," Gault said.
Post #1 is scheduled to play the final game on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The time will be determined by how long the other games go.
With a 21-12 season record as of July 24, the local team is ready for state tournament action, Gault said.
"We've had a pretty successful year," he said. "We have a good group of senior athletes who have taken on a leadership role."
He credits his one, two and three pitchers � Danny Holoch, Drew Lawrence and Tim Brodersen � for their efforts.
"That has been our strong point," Gault said. "They make up a pretty good nucleus on the mound, throwing strikes and coming in when I need them to."
Gault said the team has been "fairly solid" defensively as well.
"They do a good job making sure to get the outs on routine plays," he said. "The infield is pretty solid, headed by Jeff Gilbertson at short stop."
Offensively, Post #1 needs more consistency, Gault said.
"We're still waiting for everyone to get in the groove at the same time," he said. "Being consistent at the plate will be a real objective of ours at the state tournament. I look for Tim Brodersen, Brett Mockler and Pat and Adam Brooks to do some damage at the plate."
Vermillion will play in the state tournament by virtue of its position as the host team. However, Gault says the Post #1 team has earned its place in the state games.
"We've beaten Freeman and Lennox, which will probably make it to state," he said. "They are probably the best team in our region and we won three out of four playing them."
Post #1 also topped Mitchell this season.
"Mitchell is not in our region, but they are a Class A team," Gault said. "We also played in a tournament in Nebraska, where we won over Hastings and Grand Island. Beating teams of that caliber gives us a lot of confidence.
"Even though we haven't been through the brackets of the regionals, we belong in the state tournament," he continued. "We've legitimately beat some tough teams this season and only lost two games in our region. If you look at our record and look at the teams we've beat, Post #1 deserves to be here."
For advance tickets, contact Vern Holter, 605-624-3510. A full tournament pass is $20, while individual tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for youth (K-12). Tickets will also be available at the gate.
"This is going to be a huge event," Gault said. "For people who haven't experienced a state Legion tournament, it's big-time, good baseball."